The common subject between these three readings: Assessment.
TDW: CCCC Position Statement, and how this statement approaches to assessment of writing: importance of understanding what is being assessed and the nature of assessment;
a)language: "language is always learned and used most effectively in environments where it accomplishes something the user wants to accomplish for particular listeners or readers within that environment...language by definition is social" (TDW 374).
b) Reading (evaluation): "it is a socially contextualized as all other forms of language use...reader's own language use has been shaped and what his or her specific purpose for reading is" (TDW 375).
c) Individual writing ability: "it is a sum of a variety of skills employed in a diversity of contexts, and individual ability fluctuates unevenly among these varieties.
d) Improve learning: writing assessment can be beneficial both for students and teachers when it is used as a tool to improve learning.
e) Effect on pedagogy: "assessment tends to drive pedagogy" which means that how teachers assess students and the results of their assessments help them to create their pedagogy in a classroom.
f) Standardized tests: they have invalid outcomes, and they exclude different social classes, identities.
g) Students’ ideas about writing: "the means used to test students' writing ability shapes what they, too, consider writing to be" (TDW 376).
H) Including, considering the researches on "language learning, language use, and language assessment" to be able to assess students who have a different linguistic backgrounds, and improve assessment in a general concept for each student.
CCCC Position Statement mainly focuses on assessment, and other two reading also share the same ideas about the issues, problems on assessment.
O&M: as usual this reading again presents a long background about the debates, discussions, different practices in assessment. By presenting this background information, O&M also presents the fact how teachers, instructors, institutions should asses students' writings, and what we are doing wrongs. Basically, the idea they present about the assessment includes these:
- Way of assessing students' writings: the problems in standardized tests, exit exams, and holistic grading. These ways ignore the thinking and writing process in students, and their different identities, languages.
- approaching errors: because of the wrong applications in assessing practices, the way of evaluating errors is wrong too. Instead of making students realize where, how, and why they do specific errors to make them learn through their errors, teachers fix these errors, and this destroy the teaching and learning process.
- because of the wrong applications in assessment (wrong way of testing and evaluating students, teachers start to teach how do well on these tests to students to make them successful; yet they do not teach students what they need: learning to join academic discourse.
- to be able to help students in way that they need, we need to understand them: their errors, their way of thinking and writing, and most importantly what they think about writing.
The chapter from ‘‘Mainstreaming Basic Writers’’ summarizes and combines CCCC Position Statement and O&M. In addition to this, it also narrows the discussion down into a more specific are: the language of African-American students, and how they fail in exit exams because of their language, the way of narration etc.
Basically, the applications, practices in assessments excluding the diversity of students in every way cause students who are different than others (not in a bad way) to fail, since to be able to success in their exams or tests, students should forget about who they are, their voice in writing; they should get in the form that these tests requires. The result if they do this: successful students but dead writers.